Last Updated: Oct 25, 2012 11:18 AM
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers come off a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints, dropping them to 2-4. They led the Saints in the first half, but then Drew Brees brought his team storming back to take the lead. Josh Freeman showed some mettle, going toe to toe and punch for punch with Brees, only to essentially run out of time and real estate when Mike Williams stepped out of bounds before coming back in bounds and illegally catching the ball in the endzone at the end of the game.
Now on a quick turn around, Freeman and company will face a Vikings team that ranks 9th overall in total defensive yardage allowed and a very stout 6th in points allowed at just 18.7 points per game. The defense has shown a few cracks however, as they’ve allowed around 280 total yards per game and a total of 4 TDs in the past 2 games to opposing QBs (Robert Griffin III and John Skelton), and with the way Freeman has been playing of late, he could find some success here. Freeman’s been hot lately, going for over 300 total yards in each of his past three games; albeit against three of the worst pass defenses in the league. On the road against the Vikings, I would expect around 250 yards and a couple of scores, which makes him worth a start if your starter either hasn’t been performing well or is on bye.
This game will likely be tough sledding for the Buccaneers running game, although the Vikings did show problems defending the diminutive LeRod Stephens-Howling last week, so they could have issues with the likes of the more dynamic Doug Martin. History has shown the Vikings to mostly be tough against the run though, so don’t expect a huge game from Martin; but around 100 total yards and a score wouldn’t be out of the question.
Good Start: QB Josh Freeman, WR Vincent Jackson
Middle of the Road: RB Doug Martin
Bad Start: RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Mike Williams, TE Dallas Clark
Minnesota: Luckily for the Vikings, they didn’t need much in the performance area from Christian Ponder to beat the Cardinals, as Ponder decided to do his best Blaine Gabbert impersonation and tossing a meager 58 passing yards with two picks and a single score. Seriously… did Gabbert put on Ponder’s uniform when we weren’t looking? With a team that’s been hotter on offense as of late coming to town in the Bucs, Ponder will have to perform better than that in order to secure a win. Still, with his likelihood to not have the game riding on his shoulders, he’s pretty much unstartable.
While you can’t start Ponder, that doesn’t mean his receiving weapons aren’t worth starting. Percy Harvin is ranked 13th in the league in yards per game, and he’s a no-question starter in pretty much every league, especially PPR. Kyle Rudolph was plugging away with useful stats every week until last week’s goose egg, but I that was an aberration of Ponder not having to throw the ball at all to beat the Cardinals. This week, Ponder will have to throw more, and Rudolph should get his normal 4-6 receptions for 30-50 yards and a good possibility of a red zone score.
The big money maker for the Vikings though is Adrian Peterson. Now, the Buccaneers have been a top 5 defense against the run, but at this point All Day is All Back, and it’s time to start him every week regardless of the opponent. Peterson has had no less than 103 total yards in each of the last 5 games, and there’s no reason to think there won’t be more of the same in this contest.
Good Start: RB Adrian Peterson, WR Percy Harvin
Middle of the Road: TE Kyle Rudolph
Bad Start: QB Christian Ponder, WR Michael Jenkins, WR Jerome Simpson
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